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Thursday, 14 December 2006

Comments

Umber

Masha'Allah to your post really enjoyed reading it as usual! Alhamdulillah I personally think its always a good thing when we sit back and take time to question ourselves, question our actions, our words and most importantly our intentions. I think your absolutely correct in linking Ilm and Ikhlaas (knowledge and sincerity) together! I think its essential that when seeking knowledge our intentions must be correct our main aim should be seeking the truth and by doing that insha'Allah we will be pleasing Allah! From my own experience been born a Muslim (although somtimes I feel like I too am a revert in some ways)being born a Muslim but not practising in a fuller sense until I was slightly older I like many others I know was not only harsh, radical, extreme (which ever word you like to use)on myself but also perhaps slightly on those around me too. I think the reason for this in my case was that I had suddenly realised the consequences of the actions I had done in the past and the actions I had neglected so I had decided to go on over load blasting full steam ahead as if to make up for lost time. As time goes on and you keep learning more you seem to balance out a bit more being able to with the help and guidance of Allah strike a balance in the way you live the way you view the deen and continue to learn from it. I remember being caught up in the view of being harsh on Hamza Yusuf myself for a short while and then later realised how unfair I had been how unjust that was of me, I had heard one story and decided to condemn this brother with out even hearing what he had to say and in any case who am I to judge anyone! When I realised my mistake which was helped by actually meeting him a number of times in my work place and asking him different things I realised how wrong I had been to speak ill of someone who in reality I knew little about. I decided to write to him and tell him that I was one of those who had spoken ill of him, backbited and slandered him in the past and that now I felt regret over it and wanted to clear it now rather than in akhirah! He actually called up the bookshop where I work and spoke to me about what I had written. His words were very wise saying that all was forgiven and that not to worry and to always remember that in learning the deen (ilm) as long as we are sincere (ikhlas)we will always keep changing in getting closer to the truth.

In short facing up to our ownselves that perhaps we were wrong in the past can be a hard task and facing up to that fact in front of others can be even harder but remember to always have linked Ilm and Ikhlaas and insha'allah this should make the task slightly easier!


ARGcomment: All praise is due to Allah who guided you to write these words. Mashallah, this is just one of the benefits of writting a blog! Thank you Umber. It was just what I needed to hear. Probably another sign of my insecurity and insincerity :( I was even begining to wonder if I should have written that at all, but I do hope it will be a reminder to me and others.
I remember saying to Peter Wislon several times.."of course I could have said things I shouldn't, I'm not perfect."
It's one of things the really annoys me about politicians and the media. Politicians (or at least some of them)can't just seem to admit that they got it wrong, because some how they seem like they have to appear as "peerless fearless leader." If they did admit they had made a mistake the media is all to ready to picture them as bumbling fools who can't make up their minds.
One of things I lernt from my dad, may Allah guide him, was: "It's never too late to change you mind!"
And another point while I'm at it, there's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know" As imam Malik said "Saying 'I don't know!' is half of ilm!"

Umber

It is hard to admit being wrong in the past especially in front of others... even now I still get 'taunted, teased' by some members of my own family in some of my views on the deen that have changed in the past few years due to seeking knowledge and realing my many short comings...sometimes people like to constantly remind you that 'See I told you so you were wrong'... but each time that happens rather than take it personally and as a form of attack (which is by far the easiest thing to do) see it as a Mercy from Allah a reminder that Allah had chosen to have Mercy on you He chose to Guide you further on the straight way after all guidance is from Allah and Allah could have chosen to leave you, me all of us on that wrong path but He chose to give us Islam then if that was not enough within that gift Allah continuously blesses us by updating it to the newwer more correct model. Dont get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Islam but perhaps at times there are things wrong in the way we perceive it so Allah is contiuously rectifying that for us Allahu Akbar what a blessing and what did we do to deserve it? Abdur Raheem each time you and others are reminded of being wrong in the past or decide that perhaps you have been wrong sit back, smile and say Alhamdulillah Allah praise to Allah who has yet again guided me showered me with His mercy and love as with out it Id truley be in the depths of darkness and lost... indeed to me its a sign of Allahs love for you that He has chosen you to correct and bring closer to Him and Allah knows best!

ARgcomment: It's not that that worries me, it's that maybe I was right in the past, but started going wrong after!

Umber

Thats always a tough one. The one thing you can rest assured though is if you just remember to keep you intentions pure for the sake of pleasing and worshipping Allah and remain constantly sincere at the same time always asking Allah to guide you to what is right and most pleasing to Him then insha'Allah im sure Allah will always guide us to what is right. Even now just ask yourself with changes you have made I do this all the time and funnily enough currently debating something in my own head along the same lines (was I right before and wrong to have changed) just honestly ask youself why you have changed was it seeking the truth and to get closer to the truth or was it following a desire... sounds harsh but in reality its the truth after all we are only human at the end of the day and are weak to our desires but a constant check which you seem to be doing is always a good thing to do! I also hope your post on this topic is a good reminder to all who read that it is important to check ourselves, our actions, changes and most of all intentions all the time!

Shabber

"Muslim cleric calls Australia evil, incites Muslim boys to desecrate Bible"

or

"Badly behaved boys are expelled for desecrating the Bible"

Which one will get more people to read their article, and which one will help to alienate the Muslims, create the new so called evil to sell more papers or get people to watch more news.

Think to yourself, that newspapers and news media organisations have a product to sell, and that product is not good news, murders, crime, fear, this is the product the news media companies need to sell, without this product people would watch very little news, and we all know this.

How many people started hearing about 9/11 and started checking the internet, turning on their TV’s and radio stations, if I am not mistaken CNN, BBC websites had their biggest hits.

And then the Gulf War 1, it made CNN, Gulf War 2 made Al Jazeera, it’s all about selling the product.

But I do think that because of the internet people are waking up to this type of news service. There are more and more alternative news services that the main stream media don’t want to or are told not to cover.

I stopped watching news or listening to news, I prefer to filter my news through the internet and listen to interesting news docs through the world service, it’s a shame there is not an IWS - Islamic World Service, with the same quality as the BBC.

I think more people are using the internet to filter the news they get, and this is what I think the newspapers like The Independent and others have caught onto, if you read their news on world events they are usually more balanced and concise.

I went to the link for channel 9 newsvideo you had posted and couldn’t find it straight away until I searched for Bible on their website, but it didn’t mention you or any radical Muslim clerical, it mentioned the problems in the school which I think is were this all came from, discipline issues.

Shabber.

ARGcomment: The original link certainly mentioned me, and even had footage of me. They Probably took it off!
As for Muslim media..it is a very good idea, but is fraught with difficulties. Part of the problem is that for it to be really Islamic it needs ulema to decide what is the appropriate response to any given issue. Who has that combination of knowledge/media savvey etc...Still it shouldn't put us off!

Fatima Barkatulla

The one thing we all want is to be on the Straight Path. Allah would not make that path so vague as to make us feel lost so the Prophet sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam left us with clear guidance and Companions who showed us how to look at the guidance. The scholars are the inheritors of that guidance.

I think that in our times, the need and importance of attaching ourselves to good scholars, well grounded and with the correct principles is paramount. Not just referring to them once in a while but really having a close link with one and referring to him whenever we are not sure about things. The ideal would be to regularly study with or under their guidance. I really feel that that will keep us in check.

The extremism you mentioned Brother Abdur Raheem, if you think about it, was not caused by scholars, but by the misapplication of what scholars said and stood for, and the lack of hikmah in presenting it. I feel many people lost their confidence or even firmness (istiqamah) when they realised that they had been extreme in some of their views and threw the baby out with the bath water i.e. they tried to distance themselves from their past and associating with it because it left a bad taste in their mouths and because of how, now, other extremists were pointing fingers at them and calling them deviants. But in doing so, often went to the other extreme, for example, treating all Islamic groups and sects as OK or not talking about 'Aqeedah any more at all.

I say this all as an outsider, who has been observing what has been happening over the years and has been around people of all different Islamic groups. I have been around people of all different groups and have had the blessing of being married to a man who has been attached to, and studying with/under the supervision of scholars/a scholar and so I feel has had istiqamah during all this time.

But you know, instead of trying to distance onself so much from the past and going to the other extreme of accepting everything and everyone as the way of Ahlus Sunnah, not enjoining the good and forbidding the evil any more...I think if a person was involved in some mistakes in the past, all they have to do is adjust themselves. Keep the things that were correct and discard the bits that were extreme....but be firm upon the Truth even if it means you will not be accepted by everyone.

What I am getting at is, not trying to interpret things for oneself but refering to a scholar, because they are the strongest Muslims.

ARGcomment: Is anyone "an outsider"! I don't think you could call yourself that if you have a blog open to all! No, you yourself are one of those who influence others. Just see the reaction to your article on music and singing.
As for myself, I don't recognise myself too much in what you said.
Yes, that halal is clear and the haram is clear, but between that there are other matters that are not so clear.
Also, I have seen scholars change, alot, over the years, in their sayings, attitudes and understanings, when confronted by the same issues I have been refering to! The matters that are confusing and hard to deal with are those that have risen recently. I don't think that I have taken a stand in the last 15 years on any issue that was the not the position of one scholar or another. Its the question of choosing which position to take, and why you take it. Because it was / is the truth, or another reason. Do certain simplistic understandings of issues that were clear say 700 years ago have exactly the same application today?9note:I'm not saying the deen has changed, only how do we understand certain matters within certain situations) Now some scholars may say nothing has changed. One could interpret this as istiqama, or one could understand it as that those scholars have not comprehended the matter. What do you do when the answer simply does not fit the question? In the end we still need to go to scholars no doubt!
Of course the easy option is simply to attach oneself to one scholar and follow him blindly. In fact I'm begining to understand why some have held this a necessary or permissable thing to do! But from another angle I just don't think that that is the ideal for which we should aim for. I have always understood from my earliest days as a muslim that we should aim to follow the Quran and Sunnah, with the guidance of scholars. That means studying many different opinions and with that is the inevitabilaty of changing one's opinion. It still comes back to ilm and ikhlaas!

Fatima Barkatulla

But there are some principles of 'Ilm that the ordinary Muslim doesn't have access to easily or is complicated to understand, so it isn't open to all.

Sorry Brother ARG, I wasn't referring to yourself. I think I didn't make myself clear enough. When I say outsider, I mean as someone who was not a part of JIMAS in the old days. As for my blog...I think I hit a nerve with people about the music issue because not many people are speaking out about it yet many people are thinking about it. And also, I have asked a scholar to look at my blog from time to time and tell me if things are OK.

Those issues: the grey matters, are the precise issues that we need to refer to the Ulema for as part of the general principle of: 'Ask the people of knowledge if you don't know.' Not try and sift through things ourselves because we may misunderstand a principle.

I don't mean blindly following scholars, but engaging with them and understanding principles from them. They are the inheritors of knowledge. If a scholar has changed his mind about things, then you have to see why. Maybe he gained more knowledge, but still he has more knowledge then us so he should be referred to.

The benefit of learning from a scholar is not to blindly follow him, but to gain a deep and wide understanding of Islamic principles, which can then be cross checked with others. I mean traditionally Muslims have always studied under a scholar or madhhab and understood that madhhab well, before moving on and cross referencing and then even moving away from the position of that madh-hab, what the study does is allow one to understand properly one standpoint and apply the principles correctly under the guidance of a scholar and not misinterpret them.

Just out of curiousity, could you give an example of what you mean by:

"Do certain simplistic understandings of issues that were clear say 700 years ago have exactly the same application today?(note:I'm not saying the deen has changed, only how do we understand certain matters within certain situations) Now some scholars may say nothing has changed. One could interpret this as istiqama, or one could understand it as that those scholars have not comprehended the matter. What do you do when the answer simply does not fit the question?"

Can you give an example of an issue that some scholars say is the same today as 700 years ago and might be simplistic. I sincerely would like to know an example.

By istiqama I mean, not compromising on principles that one knows and trying to find the easy way out. I'll give you an example: When my husband was working for a Muslim TV channel, there was an old-time Jimas brother there as head producer or something, who used to be clear on certain things, perhaps extreme on some things in the past, but now he was distancing himself so much from the past, he was allowing barelwi scholars onto the Q&A show, he said music was a 'daroorah' a 'necessity' that he had to have on the channel. And he tried to make my husband have a sister sitting next to him as a guest on his show, when it was unnecessary, and he had another relevant guest planned. All because he said 'we have to do these things for da'wah...we don't want the channel to seem too salafi'. That's what I mean about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

ARGcomment: I was hoping you weren't going to ask about the "simplistic understanding of certain issues." I sort of had this feeling as I was writting that you might ask for an e.g., but I'm going to leave it there for now, because its going to get deeper than I want to in this blog right now.
As for the grey matters, they are by definition the very things that the scholars differ about. This is difficulty I refer to. We should refer to scholars for everything of course, but when they differ we are faced with either stickng to the one I think has more knowledge etc.. or trying to understand the reasons for any given position and trying to assess which scholar has the weightier evidence.
Isn't that what we should do?
Otherwise, you have hit the spot (as usual, mashallah!)

Stranger

Assalamu alikeum Sheik

I read the articles about those australian boys descrating the quran and how it was all linked up to you and i just wanted to say that you should take some legal action against the newspapers which have attributed these allegations against you. I mean you know what you said and if they can't prove it, you can sue for libel/slander because they've reported it as a fact.

I study and practise journalism and you know if theres one thing that tutors and editors drum in every time, is the importance of writing the truth and the legal consequences of what happens if we dont. Obviously some establishments turn a blind eye when it comes to muslim issues and there's little in terms of legal action that can be done at those who continue to the slander and lie against our beloved prophet, our religion and muslims as a whole, but you can take action aganist those who lie about you as an individual. Inshallah they will be dealt with in akiriah but they can also be dealt with on earth.

Journalists by and large mostly are arrogant beings (you get the few honest ones) and behave as if they're invincible (especially in the national papers) and they will only get away with lying and fabricating stories if people let them and dont bring them to accountablity for what they write and we can with allah s.w.t help.

If you havent sort legal advice, please do Sheik. Even if its just to see whether you have a case against them. No journalist has the right to publish lies as hometruths and the shaytans within the press and media nowadays can bring about alot of harm to innocent people with their poison.

Inshallah no harm will come to you and your family.

Take care

ARGcomment: Do you know anyone who can deal with such matters. The problem is that I can see that they didn't lie, they just twisted and warped everything.
Your right though, perhaps I should take legal advice. Yusuph Islam took them to court and won an undisclosed sum!

Waranga

As Salamulaikum ARG! Hope little Ayat is good, but with you as a dad, Allah (swt) help her! i'm just kidding I bet your a first class parent.

A while back, I tried to follow just one school of thought, thinking it was the right thing to do. But it proved to be really difficult, especially when your presented with evidence and you know of conflicting evidence and your also thinking 'hang on a mo, I don't think this would work' It's not fatwa shopping, it's more to do with the diversity out there and being sincere with what you think is the best thing to do for yourself, especially when you have to answer for it.
I remember a conversation we had once at IFSC about my nursing, and I really appreciated your answer, although you didn't give me a straight forward response on what to do, you kinda equipped me with the tools to search for myself. Which I think mashaAllah, worked. However it's such a learning curve, that sometimes it takes ages to figure out what the best thing is and then muster up the strength to do it.
Anyway, I might see you at the next IFSC inshaAllah, I miss the whole gang! Adios amigo.

Waranga

Zimarina

Ah ArG- getting the cogwheels turning as per usual..

'May you live in interesting times' does NOT sound like a nice prayer @ all....rather I'd imagine someone saying it with a sly smirk on their face to somebody who they didn't like trying to deliver a double-entendre!

It's always a toughie trying to evaluate your sincerity even when a task seems relatively straightforward, let alone when opinons have changed on certain matters. Maybe the answer's just a constant and a lot of critical self-reflection needed? Perhaps the answer is that it's just an unattainable task because only Allah (swt) will really know why our opinions changed on a given topic? Maybe it'd help to really try to track down what it was that instigated changing opinions and what lead up to it? Maybe there are no real answers that you'll be able to access.....what was the question again?

On another note, it was really clear to see that the journo did condense a lengthy conversation into a bitesize reader-friendly version- which is a shame because the article read a little clumsily and lacked depth, but such are the perils of our fast-food media culture. You're so spot on about hearing people say 'I made mistakes, I've changed my views' etc- it's SO rare to hear such an honest statement that when you do it nearly knocks you off your chair. With politicians here though, I think there's a bit of an irony- the general consensus is that politicians aren't trusted and that they are dishonest- BUT if there was more transparancy would we be able to handle it? Surely the public would be up in arms talking about their incompetance which isn't a bad thing per se, but it seems some people find it comforting that those in the public eye put up this pretence of infallibility. Ah, it's beyond me :/

"What's wrong with a Hindu marrying a Muslim? Surely if such marriages happened more often there would be more inter-community harmony and understanding?"

Ha ha- where to start? You could have said that maybe your original 'Suffering' topic would be more pertinent for that one...imagine planning the wedding-!


PS: All this talk of sewers- reminding me of the good ol' days of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, they were pretty radical and firebrand in their time too!

ARGcomment: KAWWANGAAAA!

Unite Muslims

Assalamu Alaikum dear brother Abdul Raheem,
Sir I've being reading your blog for some months now because from the first chance discovery of your site, I found it extremely interesting and well written. I have never heard your speeches for I am from Sri Lanka and a slow net connection to view your online videos.

But I found the below excepts from your sermons rather alarming and to me it seems like you are indeed indirectly implying that non-Muslim Austrlians are 'evil' and Australia is like a 'sewer'.

--------------------------
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20884234-2,00.html
The Australian has obtained a videotape from the school's library of a lecture given for Australian Muslims by the firebrand British convert Abdur Raheem Green, who was blocked from coming to Australia last year.

In the video, believed to have been taped during a visit in 2003, Green describes Australian non-Muslims as "evil people" and says Muslims in this country must openly criticise Christianity and lure people to Islam.

"If we leave (Muslims) in these (non-Muslim Australian) schools they will be destroyed," he says in the sermon.

"You know very well what takes place in these schools ... it is all about evolution, Christmas, Easter, St Valentine's Day - a barrage. And you expect your children to survive? You think you live in a sewer and you come up smelling of roses?

"Merely living in the company of evil people will inevitably begin to rub off on us and we will begin to acquire their characteristics."
---------------------------------

ARGcomment: What is in fact wrong with anyone of those statements!
I we just leave our kids in any place where sex, drugs and rock and roll is rampant, will they come out angles or fornicating junkies?
Please read my blog on "may you live in interesting times" carefully, because I have answered some of these matters.

AnonyMouse

Subhan'Allah!!

That bit about you in the papers... reminded me very strongly about how, around 2 years ago, something similar (eerily similar!) happened to my dad... he had given a khutbah on a 'politically incorrect' subject, and so someone hightailed it to the media, twisting his words around to make it sound as though he was calling people to Jihad, and things were pretty chaotic for a while... the media even camped out in front of our house and our Islamic centre... subhan'Allah, it was crazy, but I must say that we learned quite a few things from that experience!

ARGcomment: Yea, its not funny! Can we know who you dad is ;)

Unite Muslims

^ Assalamu Aleykum,
I think you misunderstood me. I agree with what you say. But I think you shouldn't use provocative/trigger words like "evil people" or "sewer". Just look at those statements from a non-Muslim perspective and they'll think you are implying that and miss the original meaning. I think these kind of analogues are good in Muslim countries but in non-Muslim countries even when preaching to Muslims we must be careful in what analogues and words we use. I know those words drive home the message but they can often be used against us by schemers or misunderstood or interpreted in a different way by ignorant people like has happened in this case. BTW I forgot to ask you earlier why did they not allow you into Australia?

Also how did reply for that questions regarding marriage to a Hindu? I've got some similar questions from Buddhists and Tamils here, but I usually dodge them because I don't know how to answer them.

ARGcomment: Yes, you are right. I was thinking myself that I could have just stuck with the saying of the Prophet "If you live with the blacksmith, then even if he doesn't drop some hot coals on you will come smelling of smoke".. but then perahps would say that I said "Australia stinks"!
In the end your words become so muted they don't effect the hearts.
I don't think I ever said the Aussies were evil, in fact I'm sure I never said that.
Also this talk originally was just for Muslims. I gave it in the school to encourage the Muslim community to send their kids to the school. Looks like it had the desired effect!
As for marriage question, I said that the problem is that you have to understand the basis of a Muslims way of life. If you think the purpose of life is social harmony, it might be a good idea, but for a Muslim it is the worship of Allah, and marriage is half the relgion because through it the married couple help each other to worship Allah. Hardly the easiet if one is not Muslim.
That was the jist of it.

AnonyMouse

You really want to know? :P

Nah, I'm not telling... I don't want to blow my anonymous cover... but to narrow down the search - look for a Sheikh in Canada's West Coast...

ARGcomment:OK this is a task for any budding investigative journalist Muslim islamsgreen blog readers out there.
Lets see if we any chance of stating this muslim broadcasting corportation!

iMuslim

We're too nice to be snooping on other people for a living, ARG!

O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. [49:12]

ARGcomment: ASTAGFIRULLAH....me, snooping, or inviting anyone to do the same? No, it was an invite into halal investigation, by someone who invited us to find out...
Actaully, this does raise an interesting issue though...

iMuslim

"No, it was an invite into halal investigation, by someone who invited us to find out"

Subhanallah, i didn't mean that particular "investigation" ARG!

I was replying to your statment: "Lets see if we any chance of stating this muslim broadcasting corportation!"

And so i meant Muslims are too nice to become your typical slimy tabloid journalist! Sorry for not explaining better.

I think it would be ok to report political stories where the people have a right to know the truth if the politicians are lying to us, as they're messing with the state. IMHO such "free" speech is a bastion for political integrity (thumbs down for state-controlled media!). However exposing the private lives of the same politicians is not Islamic in my opinion (thumbs up for self-control in the media!).

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